NHS Grampian is investigating after 13 new cases of Covid-19 were associated with an Aberdeen bar.
The Hawthorn Bar, on Holburn Street, has informed all customers following the news.
All those who have tested positive to date are exhibiting mild symptoms.
NHS Grampian is working closely with environmental health colleagues at Aberdeen City Council as part of their investigation.
Bar owner Philip Adams today told the Press and Journal that he was was “deeply saddened” by the news.
He said: “We urge customers to continue their support for us. We have had extensive protection in place since the offset on July 15.
“This included reduced capacity, protective screens and PPE for staff.
“We are now at the centre of negativity surrounding covid-19, which is unfair as we aren’t the only city pub open throughout this pandemic.”
“Safety remains paramount,” he added.
Mr Adams also asked people to respect his customers and staff in the coming days.
Dr Emmanuel Okpo, consultant in public health medicine, said: “Our Health Protection team are speaking to the confirmed cases, establishing who they have been in contact with, and providing further advice on isolation and testing as required.
“We are also carrying out wider contact tracing work, as part of the Test and Protect scheme. We cannot rule out the possibility of detecting further cases linked to this cluster.
//THREAD We are investigating thirteen detected cases of COVID-19 in Aberdeen associated with The Hawthorn Bar, a licensed premises in the city centre. All those who have tested positive to date are exhibiting only mild symptoms.
— NHS Grampian (@NHSGrampian) August 2, 2020
“These cases highlight that Covid-19 still poses a real risk to all of us. We cannot emphasise enough the need for everyone to take all the necessary precautions to keep themselves and others safe.
“This means wearing a face covering when required, practising thorough hand hygiene, maintaining physical distancing, and avoiding crowded places. This last point is vitally important as restaurants and pubs are opening up.
“If you arrive at a venue and you feel it’s too busy to observe physical distancing, then consider leaving.
“We also need to take responsibility for our own behaviour, especially if consuming alcohol. We know drinking impacts on our decision making. The only way we can maintain our hard won progress in reducing the impact of COVID-19 is by working together.”
The Hawthorn Bar had a series of controls in place for physical distancing and enhanced hygiene, and has been taking customer contact details to assist with test and protect.
The business has “co-operated fully” with the investigation.
North-east region MSP Liam Kerr today said: “It’s obviously concerning that a new cluster of cases has been confirmed in the city.
“The important thing to recognise is that local pubs and restaurants are doing really well at logging their visitors.
“These new cases underline the importance of following the official guidance.”
Local councillor Ian Yuill, leader of the Aberdeen City Council’s Liberal Democrats, added: “We all owe a debt of thanks to the NHS Grampian and Aberdeen City Council staff who have responded so quickly and professionally to this incident.
“My best wishes to everyone infected for a speedy recovery.
“The daily number of infections and deaths may have fallen dramatically but this incident shows that coronavirus remains a very real threat to each and every one of us. We cannot afford to drop our guard.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman added: “NHS Grampian has made the Scottish Government aware that it is investigating 13 detected cases of Covid-19 in Aberdeen.
“As the health board has outlined these are associated with the Hawthorn Bar, a licensed premises in the city centre.
“The health board has advised that the bar is cooperating fully with the investigation and has enhanced control measures in place.
“The health board has followed all necessary procedures and has reacted quickly to this localised outbreak. As part of this the health board has carried out wider contact tracing work as part of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system.
“Anyone who has visited the bar recently should be extra vigilant at this time.
“These cases highlight that COVID-19 still poses a real risk to everyone.
“It is vital that people across the country continue to wear face coverings where required, maintain physical distancing and practice good hand and cough hygiene.”